This weekend, the Hartford Wolf Pack had two games. They were able to earn a split. On Saturday night, they defeated Springfield 3-1 at the XL Center where the Hartford Whalers used to play.
Filip Chytil continues to perform well in the early going for new coach Khris Knoblauch. After picking up his first two assists last weekend, the 20-year old Czech center notched a primary assist on Phil Di Giuseppe’s game-winner and scored into an empty net at the end.
Nick Jones picked up the other goal for the Wolf Pack. Defensemen Ryan Lindgren had an assist in the home victory. He had a nice goal in a win last week as did defenseman Sean Day, who got an overtime winner on a nice move around the net.
Igor Shesterkin made 17 saves to pick up his second win. The Russian prospect earned the game’s second star. First star went to Di Giuseppe.
In the traditional 4 PM Sunday matinee, the Wolf Pack fell to the Rochester Americans 3-2 in a shootout. The teams traded two goals apiece in the second and third periods.
For Hartford, Chytil got on the scoreboard for a second consecutive game from AHL veteran Danny O’Regan to put his team on top. Boo Nieves added his first of the season from Vitali Kravtsov and experienced former NHL vet Matt Beleskey.
It was Kravtsov’s first point for the Wolf Pack in his third game. A positive step for the 19-year old forward, who made news when he was a healthy scratch last week in the club’s second game. Hopefully, this can boost his confidence as he gets more familiar with the North American style.
To their credit, Rochester was able to rally with two goals in the third period. Remi Elie had a goal that started the comeback. He also assisted on Zach Redmond’s game-tying goal with 13 seconds left in regulation. Sabres prospect Tage Thompson had two assists.
Following a scoreless overtime, Thompson scored the only goal in Round One of the shootout to beat Adam Huska. Former Ottawa hero Andrew Hammond shutdown Hartford shooters Chytil, Vinni Lettieri and Di Giuseppe.
So far, so good for Chytil. Playing his natural position, he has two goals and three helpers over four games. It’s easy to forget that the 2017 first round pick played there in ’17-18 for 46 games, putting up 31 points (11-20-31). Now, he’s learning the center position so that when he comes back up, Chytil will be more prepared for the second line role Rangers coach David Quinn wanted to see him in.
Huska had a busy day stopping 35 of 37 shots he faced. Even though he didn’t win, that’s a good job. He’s splitting time with Shesterkin, who they’re grooming for New York. It’ll probably be that way the whole season unless something happens to Henrik Lundqvist or Alexandar Georgiev.
The Wolf Pack return to the ice on Friday to host Springfield. Game time is 7:15 PM.